Getting Rid of My Least Favorite Camp Chore
I made a quick trip to REI today to pick up some last minute odds and ends. I haven’t needed to purchase much in the realm of new gear since I’m taking most of what I used on the AT. The two big ticket items I bought today were some trail runners and a Therm-a-Rest, even though I already own both. So why the REI run? As far as my trail runners go, my old ones are beat.
My Therm-a-Rest, however, is in great condition. It’s a NeoAir: amazingly comfy, lightweight, and compact. It came into my possession by way of a bit of trail magic, albeit possibly at some other poor hiker’s expense. I like to think it was purposely left behind at a shelter in Virginia and not merely forgotten, but it was a great find as it replaced my much heavier Therm-a-Rest that only came down to my knees. (If you are reading this and you lost a NeoAir in Virginia during the fall of 2016, let me know!)
Despite how great my NeoAir is, I am swapping it out for a thru-hiker staple, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite: That ubiquitous yellow and silver foam pad you’ll see strapped to many a pack. I’m forgoing the luxury of sleeping on air so I can avoid my least favorite camp chore: blowing up my frickin’ mattress. I’ve generated a short list of why I’m ditching the inflatable for the old school foam pad.
Why Ditch My Inflatable
–You have to blow it up.
–I’m too tired to blow it up.
–You can’t easily pull it out for a comfy seat during the day.
–I just want to sleep.
–It makes loud, crinkly noises.
–It takes longer to pack up in the morning.
–I’m wasting my precious breath.
–I just don’t want to blow it up.
For the Colorado Trail, I plan to leave the inflatables at home and take my new ZLite. Will it be as comfy? Maybe not. Will it save time, aggravation, and my lungs? Absolutely.
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